Why Blogging Matters to me

There’s an absolutely fascinating meme spreading around the series of tubes devoted to PR and marketing exploring why blogging matters. Eric Kintz at The Marketing Excellence Blog has put up a post that collects the thoughts of some of the brightest guys in the field right now as they explain what lessons, questions and thoughts they pull from the experience of blogging. That’s been reposted by David Armano, Joe Thornley and Will Waugh. Allow me to add my own thoughts.

When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life one of my goals was to write a column for The Chicago Tribune. I grew up with the Trib, it was a constant presence in my house as well as my grandparents’ house. Going to buy the Sunday issue was a post-church tradition. As I realized that writing was something I enjoyed and was relatively good at writing for the Tribune became the goal. I realized after a while that, despite some attempts at breaking into journalism this just wasn’t going to happen. Life went on. Occasionally I’d write something that looked like the type of thing I wanted to have published but that was largely for myself and never saw distribution beyond a floppy disk I saved it to.

But then blogging took off. And I tried it out, though I was a relatively late (mid-2004) adopter. And I was hooked.

Blogging gave me a voice. It gave people like me a voice. Part of me couldn’t believe it. I had a voice. I could talk about what I wanted, what movies I was watching, what irritated me about Illinois politics and any thing else that flitted through my mind. The end result was not, let’s just say, any good. It wasn’t until I found a focus and figured out what exactly I was trying to say that I felt like I was doing good work. Not surprisingly that coincided with my blog finding some success. As I found my way and continued to blog I made contacts that have been extraordinarily valuable to me both personally and professionally, not the least of which is Tom Biro here at MWW Group. Blogging has undoubtedly made me a better writer and has been valuable to my life in a way little outside of my family has achieved.

While this is a personal story the same pattern has been and can be followed by both individuals and corporations alike. Try it. Experiment. See what works and what doesn’t. Find something within yourself, either as an individual or as a company, that’s passionate about doing it. As my friend Mack Collier says, blogging can allow you a place to hone your skills, distill your thoughts and generally connect you to a world that has some outstanding citizens who are constantly pushing themselves – and therefore you – to think in new and exciting ways. That’s been the biggest thing I’ve gotten out of not only blogging myself but of reading what others are doing. I’ve been provoked to think outside of any previous comfort zones, something that’s sometimes uncomfortable and unnatural but at least it’s happening, and it’s happening in a place where others can add their thoughts to mine.

There’s a graphic in the print edition of this article from the Chi Trib’s Steve Johnson that says, according to Pew, only 8% of Americans have a blog. While that statistic might be used by some to show that blogs are not yet mainstream, I have a question for them: What percentage of the American people have a newspaper or magazine column?

Newsgator pretty much confirms what we thought

Well the promised interview didn’t materialize, but Newsgator founder Greg Reinacker has put up a post on his blog that deals with the addition of AdSense ads to Newsgator Online that works to confirm what we had previously been hearing and speculating. In short, AdSense ads in some shape or form are coming to NGO as part of what sounds like a period of change and evolution for the service. There’s no definitive timeline or format for how these will begin appearing but they are coming. What happened last Friday was the inadvertant flipping of a switch.

LOTD: October 24